"Our whole retail model over the last 50 years has focused on keeping the industrial machine churning out items," said Ruben, who until 2007 had an up-close view as the head of sustainability at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the king of mass-produced goods. "But if my friend already has shinguards that he's not using, I don't need to buy them for myself."
...Instead of trying to shrink a product's environmental footprint from the production side by making it with less material, advocates — especially clothing and shoe companies — are trying to extend its usefulness on the consumer end.
Retailers such as Hello Rewind are selling goods and products reworked from discarded scraps. Textile makers are experimenting with longer-lasting fabrics. Some businesses are asking shoppers to scale back their buying.
"It fits perfectly with the new movement toward sustainability in the fashion industry," said British designer Orsola de Castro, whose From Somewhere brand is considered an eco-apparel pioneer. "Hyper production and the sheer availability of cheap clothing has made us forget the value of maintaining and repurposing clothes and textiles."
Companies like Yerdle advocate for collective consumerism or a sharing economy, as reported in the Los Angeles Times. Yerdle allows people to offer goods they no longer use to friends, while other companies are focusing on extending the useful lifetime of goods or make them from scrap materials.
Literati.org is on a mission to eradicate litter by crowdsourcing trash pickup, archiving the results in its Digital Landfill, and extracting data to prevent the original littering. As described in the profile in the San Francisco Chronicle, the site is already having a big impact: "The Digital Landfill, now home to more than 12,500 pieces of trash, is crowdsourced cleanup, and because the images are geo-tagged, Kirschner has been able to build a map that shows where each piece of trash was found. This kind of data could not only help raise litter awareness in urban areas but also alert the companies whose products often end up on the ground."
"I feel we have become so desensitized to our surroundings," Kirschner said. "People walk over broken glass or a coffee cup or a potato chip bag and just keep going. I've reached a point where I'm no longer OK with that."
G-Dog ("Nothing stops a bullet like a job"), a movie about Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J. and Homeboy Industries is now available on DVD.
You can also read an excellent in-depth article about Boyle from the May 2012 issue of Fast Company.
The Ignatian Spirituality blog dotMagis offers five tips for finding God in all things: micro-awareness, journal, do something the "old-fashioned way," listen, and say "God is here."
Pope Francis forcefully denounced an idolatrous culture based on money, highlighting consumption, a "culture of disposal," the rich-poor gap, and lack of financial ethics. The Catholic News Service reports:
Pope Francis called for global financial reform that respects human dignity, helps the poor, promotes the common good and allows states to regulate markets.
A retired 82-year-old barber has been offering free haircuts to the homeless at a Connecticut park for the past 25 years. All he asks for is a hug in return. He was originally motivated to start by a church sermon.
The Huffington Post reports:
His clients line up on park benches, some of them also turning out for free meals provided on Wednesdays by a local church. One by one they take a seat in a folding lawn chair above a car battery Cymerys uses to power his clippers.
Laura Miller writes about how God led her to create a movement of 2,000 agents performing anonymous acts of kindness across nine countries. She reports on "missions" at the Secret Agent L blog.
And did I see any of this coming? Not at all. But it has become so very clear to me that this is my calling.
The Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley offers these articles on gratitude:
The prospect of death has a way of clarifying our values and priorities. The Guardian reports on the book The Top Five Regrets of Dying, written by Australian nurse Bronnie Ware who gathered reflections from patients in their last twelve years of life.
Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. "When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again."
The number one regret: "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."